Archive for the ‘Teh paladin’ category

World of Logs Log Browser meet Player. Player, meet Log Browser

July 8, 2013

Protip: You can scroll to the bottom of this post (and click on the “Read the rest…” link if viewing from the main page) for an example WITH PICTURES using Eternal Flame and Holy Power.

Megaera’s stupid Diffusion has been keeping me up at night. (Which, I suppose, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It does means there’s nothing more pressing in my life to ruin my sleep.) But, as a kid, when something bothered me, I was always encouraged to write about it. (With nice handwriting and proper spelling and grammar.) So write about it, I shall. Some day.

It occurred to me first, that I’ve never really written about World of Log’s Log Browser. Since my ripping my hair out probably isn’t the best scenario to cover the basics on (and narrowing in on one mechanic from one fight makes it hard to keep the post up to date), I figured I’d do a little formal introduction to World of Logs’ Log Browser.

Finding the Log Browser.

Finding the Log Browser.

The Log Browser: Why Would I Use It?

The Log Browser is a search tool for the Combat Log.

See, (if it’s still mystery to you,) how World of Logs works is that someone in your raid is saving their Combat Log to a document-type file on their computer. They then upload that file into World of Logs. World of Logs reads it and translates it into those meters, tables and graphs that we love so much.

But! Should you need information that isn’t provided by those meters, graphs and tables, the original Combat Log is still available on World of Logs, through, *drumroll*…. The Log Browser!

Generally I’ll use it for:

Timestamps: When was a spell cast, when did someone take damage, how often does an event occur in an encounter, etc.
Dispels: Who dispelled who, what and when. (Also applies to Interrupts)
Spell Behaviour: If I’m studying a spell and want to know what it did each time instead of the average provided by the spell breakdown page.

And…I’m sure there are other uses, but those are the ones that come to mind. Timestamps tend to be the bulk of my Log Browser usage – it’s the best way to find those extra details about a fight that the basic strat guides don’t tell you.

As for how to get started, use it as you would the “Damage Done“, “Damage Taken“, “Healing Done“, etc. features. Pick a fight (or a boss). In the image above, I’ve got a Heroic Megaera fight selected because blogging has forced my WoW life to now revolve around Heroic Mageara. Then select “Log Browser” from the correct drop down box.

The Log Browser: Think of it as a fancy Google search bar

The Log Browser was probably the last WoL feature I started using because I found it rather intimidating. (I still don’t use the Expression Editor…every time I think “oh the Expression Editor might be useful to answer this question!”, I’m quickly and brutally reminded that I have no basic understanding at all of the language spoken by that Editor.)

Once you get familiar with it, though, using the Log Browser is as easy as Googling yourself.

Your first view of the Log Browser.

Your first view of the Log Browser. I did not censor anything. Please do not stalk my guildies.

The first thing you want to do, before anything, anything at all, is hit “Remove” where is says “Queries Show all events (remove, copy)“.

Reason for that being, until you remove this “Show everything” command, the Browser will constantly just show you everything, ignoring anything you ask of it. This will make you cry (or at least, very, very sad). I have much experience.

As for those buttons along the bottom, here’s a quick translation of what they mean, in Google terms:

1- “Add Query” means “Search bar will pop up”
2- “Run” means “Google Search”, or “Enter”
3- “Copy Query set” and “Paste” are, well, copy and paste options that you’ll find useful if you expect to redo the same search in the future.

So after removing the “Show Everything“, hit “Add Query” to get the action started.

Next step is don’t panic! The form looks a lot worse than it really is.

Using the “Add Query” Form

It looks all tough but it isn't.

It looks all tough but it isn’t.

1- Event Type: This is to either widen your search (example: search for all Summons), or narrow it (example: search through a mage’s casts and only show misses). You can check as many or as few boxes as you want, depending on what you’re looking for.

2- Actor: You would put a character’s name (either a player or an NPC) here if you want to search through all the lines of the Combat Log where that character is mentioned, regardless of whether they were on the casting or the receiving end (example: if I want to look at all heals I cast as well as all heals that were cast on me, I would put my name in the “Actor” field). You’ll probably leave this field blank most of the time.

3- Source: This is where you’d put the name of the character doing the thing you’re interested in (example: if we were to look at all the heals I cast, we would put my name in the “Source” field).

4- Target: You’d put the name of the character on the receiving end of the event you want to study (example: if we want to see all the times I took a fireball to the face, we’d type in my name in the target field)

5- Spell: Enter the name of the spell you want to observe. The field seems to be case-sensitive so you have to type them exactly as they’d be written in your Combat Log (or Wowhead) (example: if we’re interested in Light of Dawn, we’d type in “Light of Dawn” with L and D capitalized).

6- Spell ID: If you aren’t having luck with a spell name (it happens sometimes), you can use the spell ID number. You can find that number on Wowhead in that spell’s URL (example: for Diffusion, use Spell ID 139993).

You can enter more than one name in each field, as long as you separate them with a comma and no space (example: if I wanted to look at Holy Shock and Eternal Flame, in the spell field I’d write “Holy Shock,Eternal Flame).

You can also leave fields empty if they won’t help you narrow your search to the data you want.

Log Browser: The Limits

The Log Browser is awesome, but there are a few limits to what it can do. (The gaps in the Log Browser functions are probably filled by the Expression Editor, but the Expression Editor is beyond my humble abilities.)

– It can only show a certain number of lines, starting at the beginning of a fight/time selection. So unless you’re looking for something that happened very early on, you have to be specific in your searches.
– You can’t automatically search for specific Timestamps. There is no way to see all and only the events that happened between 1min30 and 1min36.
– The Timestamps don’t line up exactly with the times shown in the graphs elsewhere in your parses. The graphs are more like approximations, so expect some discrepancies when comparing log timestamps to graphs.

You can, however, somewhat bypass the first two limits by going to a graph page (Damage Done, Healing Done, etc), selecting a period of the fight you’re interested, right clicking on the highlighted zone and hitting “Set page to selection”. From then on, WoL (including the Log Browser) will look at that selection instead of the whole fight. (Huuuuuge thanks to Kurn for teaching me that. I owe you one!)

And the rest is just practice and creativity!

For visual types (like me), there’s a fun (by my standards) example after the cut.

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A Look at my Heroic Megaera Logs

June 29, 2013

Two weeks ago, I did a fun healing experiment comparing my performances with Divine Purpose vs Holy Avenger. While there could have been a few other factors affecting my throughput, I was confident enough with the results that Holy Avenger became permanently lit up on my talent thingy.

Two weeks later and I’m still satisfied.

The Curious Case of Megaera, the Many Headed Beast

In my experiment post, I wrote the following:

I purposely left out 4 fights, each for unique reasons.

[...]
3- Heroic Megaera: The end result wasn’t consistent with the other fights and I thought the reasons were interesting enough to merit their own blog post.
[...]

A little bit late, but here is that blog post.

I’m aiming to use it as an intermediate World of Logs exercise on comparing healing spell choices. I’m running on the assumption that you all already know how to find your healing spells on WoL because, for the last two weeks, you’ve been playing around with the parsings tool and spying on pros.

I’m using the Heroic version of the fight, but it’s similar enough to the regular version that anyone who’s vaguely familiar with the fight should understand the analysis.

So anyway, when I did my HA+EF (Holy Avenger and Eternal Flame) experiment, this is what happened on Heroic Megaera:

Before Holy Avenger

Week 1
magsbefore

ps. Look at Pally Tank Theck, sniping heals from the healers!

Week 2
magsbefore2

After Holy Avenger

magsafter

When you look at this, your heart sinks, your stomach feels a little queezy and a dark cloud of discouragement hangs over your head. (Or maybe that’s just me.)

But before we dismiss Holy Avenger on Megaera, let’s look a little closer. We’ll ignore CD usage since my CD usage between fights should be pretty similar, other than Holy Avenger, which we’ve already accounted for.

This is what happened during nerf week:

(If your browser makes the writing look all tiny, you can right click on the image to put a larger version in a separate tab.)

magsspellsbefore

See Diffusion?

Diffusion counted for 11.4% of my healing. 5 MILLION. Right after Mastery and Beacon, BAM! DIFFUSION!

Diffusion in a healing spell breakdown, in theory, means you healed someone who just got an Arcane Breath (only available on Heroic!) to the face. It’s supposed to take 10% of the effective healing on that person and redistribute it to others in range.

In practice, it’s pretty random. I spent hours with the log parser when drafting this post, trying to figure out how I ended up with so much Diffusion healing on that attempt and I have no idea. I didn’t even know about Diffusion healing at the time. (If there’s interest, I could write a post about Diffusion Log Parsing adventures but I’ll leave it out of this post since it’s pretty long and boring, and a tad more complex than I want to get into right now.)

Because Diffusion seems to only heal when it feels like it, without involving much control from the player, when analyzing logs and comparing my performances, I’d subtract Diffusion healing from my total healing count.

Next, notice Arcing Light (Light’s Hammer) as my 4th healing spell, for 4.8 million.

Then we see Eternal Flame for 4 million and Light of Dawn for almost 3 million. (Total Holy Power healing = Eternal Flame + Light of Dawn = 4 million + 3 million = 7 million)

Now, here’s my spell breakdown for week 2 of non-Holy Avenger:

magsspellsbefore2

In comparison, Mastery did a tad less healing, Beacon a tad more. Eternal Flame was about the same (4 million) and Light of Dawn a little less (2 million) for a decrease in Holy Power healing by one million.

A major difference would be Holy Prism instead of Arcing Light, which did 1.8 million healing…less than HALF of what Arcing Light did for me last time.

As for my “With Holy Avenger” Logs

magsspellsafter

If you counted the number of healers on the meters, you’d notice that we did this kill with 6 healers instead of 7. Which means more healing to go around, but also more dps and a resulting shorter fight (so we’re expecting a higher Healing per Second, HPS, but the total overall healing could be more or less).

Still, Mastery is my top heal, with comparable numbers to the two previous weeks, with Beacon as a second, again with comparable numbers.

Then Eternal Flame, doing more healing than the past two weeks, but no Light of Dawn, resulting in a lower overall heal from Holy Power (5.7 million).

What really sticks out, though, is the uselessness of Holy Prism here. (And I confess that the only reason I was using Holy Prism was because I had forgotten to respec for the fight.) While I’m sure Holy Prism could do the job if it were cast every 20 seconds, on schedule, I find this fight too busy for regular Prism casts. Besides, Light’s Hammer comes off CD just at the right time for Rampage where its little spidery light tangles shine to their full potential.

Comparing Two Paladins on a same attempt

On my “after Holy Avenger” attempt, my copally, who wasn’t using Holy Avenger kicked my butt on the meters. Solidly. So let’s look at what he was doing spellwise.

magscopally

Our two top spells, Mastery and Beacon, were fairly comparable and his Holy Radiance was only slightly less than mine.

Then his 5 million Arcing Light points and laughs at my 1.7 million Holy Prism.

He did 3.5 million healing with Light of Dawn and 2.3 million with Eternal Flame for a total of 5.8 million Holy Power healing (slightly more than me).

And he got lucky with 1.4 million more Diffusion than me.

The moral of this story is, I guess, don’t use Holy Prism on this fight.

Conclusion: A Lesson Learned

Last night I made sure Light’s Hammer was ready to go on the pull. And I also followed Aladya’s example in planning CDs for Rampage. (Obviously, I couldn’t execute it quite as perfectly as he does, but the general CD timing was there.)

The end result looked like this:

magsnew

Still below our meter whores Druid and Shaman who play meter topping games with each other, but still solid. Especially since I died near the end.

And in closing, my spell breakdown from last night, analyze it how you will.

magsspellsnew

How To Use World of Logs to Spy on Pros (Also Heroic Megaera Holy Pally CD Usage Discussion)

June 16, 2013

EDIT: Want to learn even more about World of Logs and Holy Paladins? Lucy over at Intellect Plate has a comprehensive and excellently written guide which touches on this topic and so much more, I highly suggest you check it out! (I wrote this post merely days after her guide was published, not realizing that she had already covered pretty much everything I bring up. I swear this was an unfortunate coincidence and I offer her my apologies.)

I’m always getting told that my World of Logs posts are long and boring, and the only people who would make sense of them are people who don’t need to be reading World of Logs tutorials anyway.

Yes, yes, no one ever words it quite like that. THATS STILL WHAT IT MEANS.

So I am going to try again.

In my last couple of posts, I mentioned creepy stalking looking up the pros and admiring their use of cooldowns. I didn’t go into details on my procedure and perhaps there are people out there at this very second thinking to themselves, “I wish I could look at Pro logs but every time I open World of Logs I get dizzy and sleepy.

To those people, I present: How to Use World of Logs to Spy on Pros

And for intermediate WoL users, those of you who pull up CD graphs but aren’t too sure what you’re looking at, you guys can scroll down to the last section. There we are sipping tea and calmly discussing Megaera rampage CD usage.

Finding An Interesting Log

1) Go to http://www.worldoflogs.com

Simple enough?

2) Select HPS

hps

3) Select your region (US&EU for me) and desired Mode (25 Heroic for me), in that order

findingpros

4) Choose your boss fight and hit “Rankings” (for this post, it will be Megaera)

findingmegs

5) Select the little Holy icon under “Paladin” and choose a recent log from a paladin on server where you understand the language.

selectingapro

I’m sure Афиа is amazing, but deciphering his or her spell names just won’t be worth the trouble. You want to go with a recent log too, as fight mechanics and class intricacies change over time. The more recent the log, the more likely it’ll give you an accurate representation of that fight for your class.

6) Click on a Paladin’s name, and check out their spell breakdown tab before hitting the “Buffs Cast” tab.

spellbreakdown

I’m not sure what general etiquette is for using screenshot’s of a stranger’s logs. To give credit where credit is due, these are Aladya’s (from Method) logs from June 5. I picked these particular ones because the CD timing on them is perfect for teaching. If it’s inappropriate for me to use them, I will take them down and apologize profusely.

7) To view CD usage click on the “#” next to the cooldown(s) you’re interested in

choosingCDs

Note that you can also select debuffs, and under the “Buffs gained” tabs, you can view uptime of buffs or debuffs that are cast on a player by someone or something else. For the sake of this discussion, though, we only care about Holy Pally CD casts.

8) Admire the graph you’ve created

CDgraph

Discussion

First, there’s a graph with pretty squiggly lines. The light yellow one shows damage the raid is doing (we don’t care about that at this time) and the orangish line shows damage taken by raid. If you’re colourblind, you can distinguish them (at least on this fight – and that’s why I picked this fight) because damage taken spikes at 6 specific spots.

Those 6 specific spikes are Rampages.

Under the pretty squiggly graph, there are green bars. Each green bar shows you when a buff was active. If you mouse over a green bar on World of Logs (note, this won’t work on my screenshots!), a tooltip will pop up showing who had that buff on them. Especially useful for assessing Eternal Flame usage, but also helpful if you happen to be interested in Beacon, Hand of Purity or Hand of Sacrifice targets.

From this graph, we can see that our pro paladin has Eternal Flames running throughout the fight on a number of people (the brighter a green bar, the more people that buff is on).

We can also breakdown his CD usage per rampage:

Rampage #1: Holy Avenger, Divine Favor and Avenging Wrath. (Guardian of the Ancient Kings was used as well – I forgot to add it when doing the screenshot.)
Rampage #2: None
Rampage #3: Holy Avenger and Devo Aura.
Rampage #4: Avenging Wrath and Divine Favor
Rampage #5: Holy Avenger
Rampage #6: Devo Aura, Intellect Potion (also Guardian of the Ancient Kings, missing from screenshot)

Avenging Wrath and Divine Favor were used again at the very end of the fight. (Had it taken longer for the last head to die, they could have been used on the last Rampage, but DPS was too high and they weren’t off CD yet.)

I added Divine Plea to the screenshot as well, you can see how it was used shortly before the third and fifth rampage.

Now, when I’m writing Holy Pally beginner CD guides, I always say “Don’t use Divine Favor and Avenging Wrath at the same time, you just get more overheal and less time with an active throughput CD“. I stand by that. For 5s, most normal fights and periods of lowish damage, at least. When damage is periodically intense (such as this fight) and every ounce of healing will be useful, you might as well hit with everything you have. Plus, the earlier you use your CDs, the more likely they’ll be up at the end.

For progression fights – whether you’re doing crazy heroic modes or you’re working on normal Horridon, you can plan your CD usage based on fight length and the time it takes for CD to come up. And then your “Buff Cast” graph can look like this one.

Ending Words

I was going to end this post by adding a few more CD graphs of top Holy Paladins. Then I realized that I’d be wasting a precious exercise opportunity. So go, use the instructions here to find other examples of Holy Paladin CD planning!

Hours and hours of fun, I assure you!

Holy Avenger and EF Blanketing – The Results

June 15, 2013

As I was researching yesterday’s post (and by researching, I mean creepy stalking top Holy Pally parsers on World of Logs), I noticed that every one of them was using a healing technique I hadn’t tried:

Holy Avenger on CD, Holy Power built through Holy Radiance and Holy Shock and sunk via Eternal Flame blanketing over as much of the raid as possible.

I checked both 10s and 25s, under the Heroics tab. Both used this trick, though 25s players seemed more likely to blow Divine Favor and Avenging Wrath at the same time as Holy Avenger (time for a macro?) while 10s generally staggered their CDs out more.

So it seems I’m well behind the times (that’s what happens when WoW takes the backseat for months), but I’m sure I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE.

Plus before and after screenshots are always tons of fun.

The Changes

On top of using the Holy Avenger trick, I also started tracking Illuminated Healing (Mastery). I doubt it made a significant difference but it did lightly influence where I would cast my Holy Radiance/Holy Shock/Eternal Flame.

Our healing comp was a bit different than last week too. Last week my Copally was away, and this week we were missing our Monk and Druid S. This would have an effect on how each of us heal in comparison to one and other, but I really don’t think it would account for a drastic change. After all, we rarely use the same healing comp on a given fight from week to week anyway.

In terms of gear, if you look at the past few weeks, my gear will have improved, but between this week and last, the only differences were how I found two pieces that made me to think “I could have sworn I’d reforged these!“, and my weekly VP gear upgrading. So, some influence on my stats, but less than a clear change.

Notes on Throughput and Functionality

This is obviously a post on throughput. Throughput has its place. After all, if healers can’t keep up with the damage or with their teammates, they’re holding the raid back. Plus, guild and healing leads from all brackets (yes, I’ve seen leads from guilds who can’t kill normal Horridon obsess over healing meters) don’t see past meters and HPS. So meter milking is a good skill to have if you want some peace and quiet.

However, throughput is not a replacement for functionality.

A healer’s first priority is to keep the raid (or healing assignment, depending on the team and the fight) alive through every mechanic. Standing still and spamming heals isn’t a luxury most of us have access to. (And even if it were, it doesn’t sound very fun, you know?)

My poor copally, who ended up, without his knowledge (if this were real science, this experiment would never make it past the ethics committee) being a control subject, is by far a better healer than I am. I spend more energy looking up techniques, but he makes less mistakes than me, and doesn’t panic and freeze up the way I do. When it comes to choosing a paladin for exploratory fights, he is the obvious choice.

Once your priorities are covered, though, there’s nothing wrong with taking your art to the next level and squeezing extra out of your character.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Holy Avenger to a freshly-pressed, new paladin. I’d like to see a new paladin healer master Beacon healing, Holy Power cycling and cooldown management before adding yet another CD. Once those are down, then by all means.

For your amusement, here is a list of my screw ups last night as I tried to fit the new technique into my routine:

1- On H-Jin’Rokh, dropped a fissure in the middle of raid.
2- On H-Horridon, almost got eaten by my pink dino (have really no idea how I survived that)
3- On H-Council, drowned in Quicksand
4- On H-Iron Council, got 3 stacks of flame lines, had to bubble, then had no bubble left to mask my inability to handle tornadoes. Also missed my pre-tornado Aura Mastery.

While on the average raid night, I earn no shortage of “that’s not good” and “Rykga, Rykga, Rykga“, the above aren’t mistakes I typically make (except for pre-tornado Aura Mastery. I always screw that one up.)

But enough chitchat. Here are the preliminary results of my healing with Holy Avenger experiement. (Also keep in mind that I was very clumsy with the technique. Imagine what this would look like if my CD timing were perfected!)

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WoW… Oh hei! I still play that!

June 14, 2013

You know you’ve fallen out of the loop when you come across lists of Holy Paladin bloggers… and your name is nowhere to be found. Which is fair enough – I haven’t written anything substantial since that guide from two patches ago, which I never even polished up. It’s just. That. Time. Goes by. So fast. SO FAST. Didn’t I write that last guide post YESTERDAY? OMG.

But have no fear! Newcomer bloggers Paladiner and Lucy have got you covered, especially when it comes to Heroic Mode info. Super busy Getsu also finds the time to post some Holy Paladin thoughts as well (I complain that I can’t update because I’m busy, but he’s like 200 times busier than me and still finds time for Holy Pally philosophy /shame).

And if Heroic raiding and patch notes aren’t your thing, the awesome Megacode is still going strong with his regular podcasts on Normal modes, basics and other must-knows. He’s also done some fantastic interviews with high profile players. (Speaking of Megacode’s podcasts, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say it yet, but I wasn’t told not to say anything and I’m super super excited so I’m going to say it anyway: he has another round table coming up! I can’t wait! I think we should do like a holy paladin cafe once a month, where a bunch of us grab mics, a bunch more get into the chat channel and we just pally talk. No prep, no editing. Just glorious, glorious pally talk. Would anyone else be interested in that?)

So we’re digesting 5.3 sideways, 5.4 is on the horizon (already? WTF) yet all I want to talk about are Bioware games and nerd conventions. That’s just how I am. But still, I will not be left out during these kinda-difficult-but-we’ve-been-through-worse Holy Paladin times.

5.3 and The Great Mastery and T14 4-pc Nerf of 2013

Of Tier Gear 14 and 15

Unlike most, I made the switch from T14 4pc to T15 as soon as I had enough T15 to get a 2pc. The reasoning was that my T14 gear came from a mix of LFR and Normal mode while my T15 was nice and shiny Normal and Heroic stamped.

I experimented by switching back and forth, and once I got used to both, I could get roughly equal numbers. T14, for me, was all about the EF blanketing, while T15 lets me go crazy with Holy Radiance. (Holy Radiancing – something I know many of my fellows are ticked off about. But what can you do? Perhaps it’s just our overachieving tanks, but it seems like the only T15 fight where we need any kind of tank healing assignments is Heroic Mags and MAYBE SOMETIMES Heroic Council. For everything else, there’s Holy Radiance.) As I shifted toward T15 and got deeper in heroic content, I found that my old T14 set just didn’t have the mana regen necessary for today’s modern boss fights. So off to the vendor we went.

Paladiner suggests skipping the T15 4pc. His experience with specific fights doesn’t reflect my own, probably because he runs with a different healer team makeup, and, more likely, he does 10s while I do 25s. But! As stubborn as I am about keeping my shiny 4pc, I do agree that the extra stat bonus from an upgrade from normal-mode T15 piece to a heroic (or better, a Heroic THUNDERFORGED!) non-T15 piece would probably give your healing more oomph than a boost to Beacon.

There are some exceptions – my copally and I cross-beacon on Heroic Mags and we each get a lot of healing out of it. A lot. While we don’t seem to get the same kind of Beacon numbers on Heroic Council, I suspect that when we switch to direct healing Frostbite targets, our Beacons (again, cross-beaconing) have made other healers lives much easier. Otherwise, it seems the other fights in Throne are more raid damage typed, where extra Mastery and extra Spirit to support shiny Holy Radiances would go further than a boost to Beacon.

That said, I creepy stalked some of the highest HPS pallies in the US, and the vast majority (but not all!) were using T15 4pc. Note, though, their healing situations might not reflect that of the average raid. Plus they might swap gear around between fights.

And, what else? Oh yes, Mastery nerfs. Ouch.

Mastery Nerfs and healing styles

I checked my logs after the nerf and I half expected to find myself booted from my guild. It hurt my healing that bad. My copally was healing just fine, though, so I think the numbers may have had more to do with me than with the nerf. I tried harder the next week, and while I couldn’t get to where I was before the nerf, I did manage to not be rock bottom of the meters on every fight.

A couple of pallies asked me if they should change their stat priorities given the changes to Mastery. I don’t do much experimenting with things that extreme – but if anyone wants to give it a try, I’d be happy to look at the results.

I went to World of Logs again and went through a dozen of the highest ranking paladins (for 25 Heroic, mind you) and Mastery was a unanimous priority.

Another unanimous trait was the healing style of Holy Shock/Holy Radiance to generate Holy Power, followed by Eternal Flame blanketing. I swear most of them don’t even have Light of Dawn in their spell book.

(I try to heal like that, but apparently I fail pretty hard. In a fight 90 seconds shorter, Envy’s Finella gets more than twice the Holy Radiances and EFs out than I can!)

A strategy they use and that I hadn’t come across in discussions, is to take Holy Avenger (remember Holy Avenger, the level 75 talent?) and use it on CD. Combine with Divine Favor and Avenging Wrath for extra sexiness.

Simple and brilliant. For 18 seconds, you can get a lot of badass Eternal Flames out. Then you have 72 to 102 seconds to generate EFs the old fashion way.

I’m going to try this tonight.

As for meter rankings for the pros since the nerf, it seems that those pallies who were topping the meters before are now only slightly behind their Disc Priest buddies. Their healing environment is kinda different than the average raider (they have less healers, which spreads damage differently, and their healing aims more for numbers than functionality and bare survival), but the rest of us still have no excuse.

5.4, Flex Raiding, Minor Changes and Beyond

The Holy Paladin of the Future

I was happy to find no trace of those Eternal Flame nerfs everyone’s been panicking about. (Those aren’t hidden somewhere, are they? I’m scared!)

Our class changes are pretty minor. Paladiner’s wringed as much analysis out of our set bonuses as possible. Dedralie at Healiocentric has some discussion on our general changes on her blog as well.

If you want a TL;DR of our predicted changes, here it is: some wording on talents and some tiny number adjustments on Hand of Purity. At the time, I doubt anything will actually be noticeable in game. (Other than, obviously, T16 gear.)

And Flex Raiding!

Flex Raiding

Why is everyone so upset about Flex Raiding?

I think my guildy had the best reaction to the announcement: “Will I be getting an achievement for Flex Raiding?

I can see how a third lockout would be annoying to guilds in the upper-but-not-raiding-24-hours-a-day bracket. Even so, it only takes a couple of weeks for these guilds before everyone has everything they need from pre-normal raid lockouts, weeks where most of us are chained to our computers anyway. And adding a third lockout would probably reduce the number of weeks it takes to get saturated with pre-normal gear.

Personally, I’m super happy about this. I doubt, however, I’ll use it much. For me, I think, Flex raiding is coming too late. For the longest time, I wished there were some way I could help my off server friends with current tier fights without having to built a raiding alt. I also wished there was a way we could have scaling fights, so we didn’t spent more time looking for pugs than actually playing. By now, though, most of my off servers friends have scattered. I’ve lost touch with too many of them and don’t feel comfortable sending a “hey, wanna Flex Raid with me?“. But still, I’m happy the opportunity will be there, should I get the call.

It might also be a way for me to connect with my own guild. During regular raids, I still freeze up whenever someone talks to me (and with my fluttery attention span, it’s very hard for me to concentrate on the raid and chat to guildies at the same time). I tried running LFR with them, but it’s not the same with a bunch of a strangers in our group. So even though I’ve been in the guild for months and am quite happy (the raids are efficient, fair and entertaining, what more could I ask for?), I’m not as engaged as I usually am. Flex raiding would perfect for drunken, no stress guild fun.

What else is coming up in 5.4? Virtual realms?

Virtual Realms or Are we really just looking for an excuse to overreact?

I play on Tichondrius, which, I think, has become the most populated realm after last week’s character service discount. Why everyone wants to move to a server where there are up to 40 minute queues in the evening and where you have to get up at 5 am to do dailies if you don’t want to spend more time getting ganked than playing the game, I have no idea. But long story short, I don’t think I’ll be affected by virtual realms.

As for everyone else, it sounds like virtual realms will help somewhat with the challenges of playing on a low pop server, namely guild recruiting and finding fun things to do with strangers on offnights. Perhaps I’m missing something huge, but I can’t see where the problem is.

There! A WoW post at last!

I think that sums my recent thoughts on the game.

I do still play, I assure you. Cadenza is now 7/13H in 25s. Thankfully, Throne of Thunder calls for waaaay less twitchy movement than, um, that other dungeon who’s name I apparently blocked from my memory. I still die enough to worry about getting kicked. Every time I see an in-game mail from my GM I get all “oh noes!“. (It’s usually just a shipment of raid food, though. Why he does this, I’m not sure. I wonder if his food Auction House alt has a name similar to Rykga and I’m getting them by accident. Or perhaps it’s a quiet hint that I need more spirit. But, you know, I won’t turn down free raid food.)

The mic port on my desktop blew so now I can’t talk on Vent or Skype or Mumble. Not sure if there’s a way to fix that without having to change my whole motherboard. (While I did build this computer with my own two hands, I’m still pretty clueless about how everything fits together.) I’m quite sad about it but not enough yet to dare rip my tower apart. The laptop still works, anyway.

And, um, I’m really trying to find things to write about here. It feels like when I write to my mom: “Dear Mom, I am still alive. I work a lot. Sometimes I go hiking but not very often because it rains all the time. We got snow last week too. I went to the SPCA this morning and walked a dog. I made soup in my slow cooker overnight and it tasted funny. Do you know what I am doing wrong? My computer is being buggy again. You should try Granville Island Brewery’s Summer Mingler pack. It’s quite delicious. That’s all I can think of. Love, Jenn.”

Alright, time to shut off the computer so my eyes don’t hurt for raid. Talk to you all again in like a month!

Holy Paladin Notes for Throne of Thunder: Tortos

April 10, 2013

So. I’ve had the chance to see Throne of the Thunder a few more times since part 1. I started writing part 2, but got as far as Tortos before my blogging juice ran out. After sitting for 3 days on a Tortos write up, I figured I might as well post it. I can do the next fights, well, if I ever get a day off work or something.

(Also realized that April 7 was my fourth bloggiversary! 4 years since I wrote my first post here. It feels just like yesterday, yet like an eternity at the same time. So much has happened since then, so much, so fast! A huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who’s ever read this little corner of the internet, linked to my posts, commented, offered me advice, RTed me on Twitter, hung out with me, invited me to their blog or podscast, got drunk with me or put up with me in any way. And a special cheers to all the guildies and friends over the years who’ve been such good sports about being featured as characters on this blog. You guys are the best – whether it was by or against your will. Here’s to 4 more years of being big grown up kids.)

Tortos

Icy Veins overall strat: http://www.icy-veins.com/tortos-detailed-strategy-wow

Predominate damage type: Physical (Though the raid will smacked by Nature damage from Rockfall)

Suggested Spec and Glyphs: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#l!^N|cnr

Track on your frames: None!

CD timings:
Devotion Aura – If you use it right after the first Quake Stomp, you can probably fit it in again near the end.
Guardian of Ancient Kings – Might be able to fit in twice if you use it right away. You’ll definitely want it off CD for the end.
Divine Favor/Avenging Wrath – You can use them on CD, or right before (or after) a Quake Stomp.
Divine Shield/Hand of Protection – Can be used to evade the stun from Quake Stomp. Hand of Protection can be used on a co-healer while you have Forbearance. Nice for 10s groups who 2-heal.
Divine Protection – Can be use for Quake Stomp or in combination with Hand of Sacrifice on the tanks, if Glyphed. If not Glyphed, use after Quake Stomps.

Move if: You are standing in swirly circles (Rockfall) or a spinning turtle is heading toward you.

Positioning: Kinda spread out. You’ll be moving and dodging most of the fight.

Discussion:

Quake Stomp (physical damage) happens about every 50 seconds. Before Quake Stomp, Rockfall will hit about once every 10 seconds, after Quake Stomp, it’ll be twice per second for 8 seconds, hence all the post-Quake Stomp cooldown suggestions. Toward the very end of the fight, Tortos kind of goes nuts with his little turtles so you’ll like to have some CDs available for that.

For glyphs, I opted for Glyph of Divine Protection to use during Quake Stomp and to help with Hand of Sacrifice. If you’d prefer to use Divine Protection to ease Rockfall’s Nature damage, you can pick another favorite Glyph.

Talentwise, Pursuit of Justice seems the most logical speed increase since you’re constantly running short distances. I haven’t actually tried Burden of Guilt, but I’m told that it can help slow the spinning turtles. I prefer Eternal Flame for level 45, but if you always use Light of Dawn on this fight, you could consider Sacred Shield. Clemency is nice for extra Hands of Protection, though Unbreakable Spirit works well too for more selfish healers (like me). Since there is constant damage throughout the fight, I’d go with Divine Purpose. And, Holy Prism is helpful since most of the raid will be spread out (though on 25 Light’s Hammer still does pretty good healing when used on the melee).

Happy turtle hunting!

This Guild has No Tabard! (Or, I couldn’t think of a title)

March 27, 2013

I keep writing these posts in my head but promise myself I’ll post them once I post all the other things I want to write about. Then I go do something like valor cap. By then I’m out of time.

It’s been, what, six weeks now since I joined Cadenza? Two of those weeks (which happened to be the two first weeks of patch 5.2 – worst timing ever but beggars can’t be choosers) I couldn’t raid due to visiting family, and since I hadn’t seen family in almost two years, putting family first was the obvious choice.

This guild has no tabard!

This guild has no tabard!

On a tangent, having families, especially moms, around is both awesome and exhausting! She kept doing my dishes, laughed at all my jokes and helped me cook. Having another person in the house, though, was a lot harder on me than I expected. I have no idea how some (most?) people live their entire LIVES with other people! By the end of the visit, I was falling asleep everywhere and couldn’t talk coherently. Took me two 13-hour sleeps to recover!

But anyway, this platform is more for WoW talk than for analyzing my sleeping habits.

So I joined Cadenza six weeks ago. The way it happened was kind of surreal. I was on Twitter QQing about how I wasn’t getting enough raid time with Conquest and how I was mockingly looking for a guild that lets me raid. (My actual plans were to wait until after my mom’s visit, reassess the situation with Conquest and shop for a new home if it hadn’t improved.) And, well, sometimes complaining is an effective way to a solve a problem. I got a DM from Theck (yes, Theck) who let me know that his guild had recently lost of couple of healers to real life.

Now I knew of Cadenza. After Occasional Excellence disintegrated, I really wanted to find another (alliance) progressive 25 guild with a two nights/week schedule. So I had checked out the guilds of that demographic. All, like, 4 of them.

During my post-OE searching, I didn’t think I could make Cadenza’s schedule (they raid Fri-Sat – Saturdays are ok, we close early that day, but I didn’t think I could take Friday nights off work). Plus, I figured the break I was forced to take from raiding (due vacation then to all hell breaking loose at work) would have set me too far back on progression (which was probably true). And (because scheduling and being behind on progression aren’t enough), they were a step up from OE, and while I performed ok in OE, I was far from being one of their stars.

Then flash forward to the DM from Theck. By then, work had settled down. I could think of a way to tweek the schedule to give me Friday nights off. I was decently progressed. I wasn’t sure if I had the talent to make the cut, but you know what? If you spend your life limiting yourself by saying “I can’t do this“, “I’m not good enough for this“, “My health/natural abilities/etc aren’t up to par” without even trying, you end up becoming on of those sad middle aged people who amount to nothing and pass their slow, agonizing days posting tacky “motivational” messages on Facebook.

I wanted to raid, I wanted to play with this guild and I really don’t want to post cheesey crap on Facebook for the rest of my life. So I took a deep breath and transferred to Tichondrius.

Six weeks later, I haven’t passed my trial but they haven’t told me to leave and never come back either.

And the raids?

The raids, they are freaking amazing.

I was expecting a guild similar to OE. After all, similar schedule, similar progressiveness, similar demographic of players.

But no. Not similar to OE at all. I like both (as long as I’m treated fairly and the raids are good, I’m usually happy, I guess), but while OE was extremely structured, disciplined and followed every decent guild-leading advice in the book, Cadenza’s raiding environment goes against anything you’d expect from a guild with so much progression in so little time. There are no forums to discuss in, the loot system is “whisper the raid leader if you want anything” (extremely efficient, only downside, really, is that often people try to out-generous each other and all the excess passing wastes time), there are no dedicated breaks (if you need time, you just ask and go) and because we raid weekends, raid end time is just a suggestion. They don’t even have a tabard! (I suppose they never stooped so low as to spam “we have guild bank and tabard!” in trade/general to recruit back in the day.)

But it works.

I was curious as to how a high stress all the time ultra perfectionist freak like me would react to that kind of environment. So far, it’s been almost therapeutic. Since I work a fast-paced, intense job where every detail matters, the simplicity of the guild structure is a breath of fresh air.

Oh and we killed so many bosses! So many bosses! It was so exciting.

It’s funny how it happens. Right when I had decided I was satisfied with Conquest-level middle of road progression, I suddenly get to the opportunity to raid at an even higher level. It’s not what I expected to happen, but I’ll take it. I’ll definitely take it!

And the Insecure Nervewreck?

In case you are wondering, I’m still uber shy. I thought I had gotten over it – after all when I went back to Conquest, I felt at home almost immediately. Apparently it was just the familiarity of Conquest.

My first few raids with Cadenza, I took a lot of deep breaths and fought the urge to run away. I missed Conquest (as much as I had complained about the healing environment!), I missed OE (which, of course, doesn’t exist anymore so there’s no going back there), I questioned my whole raider identity. Who was I, I thought to myself, to believe that I had what it takes to join a group of strangers who play better than me? Silly, silly pretentious girl, I mocked myself.

The team was kind to me. I was briefed on raid strats, on how to ask for loot and on raid customs. I was offered food and flasks. Anything I would logically need, they gave to me right away. Yet, what I was more urgently stressing about was not something I was willing admit. What was eating a big nasty hole in my belly… was…well…heh… It was not knowing what to say when I entered healer chat. Should I say hi? Should I say thank you? Should I just say nothing? Yes, people. That is how my pathetic mind works.

If you think that’s bad, you should have heard the discussion in my head when I had to remind my raid leader that I would be taking two weeks off. There’s no signout forum. Should I just whisper him? Which of his toons should I whisper him on? What if he’s busy? Should I say something on Vent instead? It took me about a week to decide to just send him an in-game mail on his main raiding character.

Yep. I may have grown as a person and has a player, but the insecure nervewreck from nearly four years ago has not grown at all.

And now?

I mentioned earlier that I haven’t passed my trial yet. My fears that I would make more mistakes and learn slower than every one else? They ended up being founded. I think I keep up healing-wise, but on actual execution I’m clearly behind the curve.

All those slow people I’ve ever rolled my eyes at or lost patience with? Karma came around and suddenly I feel like I’m one of those people.

I haven’t been kicked yet though, and until they kick me, I’ll keep showing up for raid.

I hear the word “awareness” a lot. It’s rarely awareness (in the early raids, it was sometimes – at first I physically and mentally couldn’t handle 4-6 hours of concentrating after a tough day at work, but practice makes perfect and last raid I managed almost 6 hours before reaching the end of my focus). If only it were so easy to fix as turning off the TV or music, or not getting drunk during raids. (I raid in complete silence because I know concentration is a problem for me. And while I love to drink during raids, I’ve avoided fueling my raids with alcohol since joining Cadenza.) No, it’s not usually awareness. Usually, I know I’m getting hit. I also almost always know how I died. (I always use my combat log.) It’s the reaction time and dexterity that I’m lacking. Which I suppose I could improve by doing a lot of BGs. Yet the only way I could really find time for BGs is either to ignore VP (bad) or quit my job (badder).

I’m at peace though. At this point, I’ve become attached to my guildies. I really enjoy the raids. Every now and again, I even type something in /raid or /g! I had a long chat with the other holy paladin in the guild and got all excited about making a friend. Even more, Logan, Conquest bro and of Leetsauced fame, joined me around my third week, which really helped me relax during raids. It’s been wonderful having a friend going through the trenches with me, someone to exchange triumphs/frustrations/remarks with.

If they do eventually tell me that I’m just not on par, I’ll be sad to leave, but I’ll be grateful for the experience. While OE’s raids taught me to wring out all the healing my paladin can handle, Cadenza’s raids are teaching me focus and precise execution. And I’m sure having a lot of fun, which, in video games, is really what matters.


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